There was something deep inside the hat, What could that something be?
Then cautiously each step he took, he climbed up on the brim to look,
And all at once the hat began to shake, and rock, look out!"
(The point of no return for poor Mark.)
Extremely similar to H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville featured a boy, Mark (Butch Patrick, of The Munsters fame), who falls into a stage magician's top-hat into the eponymous hat community. Having gained control of a ring-dwelling (non-hat) Genie (played by a gender-flipped Billie Hayes, who also played Witchiepoo on Pufnstuf), he is pursued by the magician's Lidsvillian evil counterpart, HooDoo, played by a pre-Match Game Charles Nelson Reilly — not a hat himself, but living in a giant topper and flying around in a giant opera hat. Produced by Sid and Marty Krofft Productions back in 1971, with their trademark surrealism, the concept bears a suspicious resemblance to an earlier British stop motion cartoon called Hattytown Tales... though it was only two years earlier, and had none of the overarching plot (such as it is) of the classic Sid and Marty Krofft Productions "human lost in a strange land" story, and lacked any "human" characters. (If H.R. Pufnstuf was inspired by the MGM's version of The Wizard of Oz, then Lidsville was inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.)
Parodied on Mr. Show in the sketch "The Altered State of Druggachusetts."
Lidsville provides examples of:
- And You Were There: Charles Nelson Reilly who plays HooDoo, also appears in the opening credits playing Merlo, the magician whose hat Mark falls into.
- Attack Reflector: In "Weenie, Weenie, Where's Our Genie?", Weenie, feeling unappreciated by his friends, runs away and is recaptured by HooDoo, who has also captured Mark and some of the Good Hats. Weenie, overhearing HooDoo's plan to turn the good guys into toads, pushes a mirror in front of HooDoo just as he finishes the spell, causing HooDoo to turn himself into a toad.HooDoo: [croaking] I want my Mommy HooDoo!
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Raunchy the rabbit is one.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: In one episode, HooDoo attacks the town with "Big Daddy Hoodoo," a Humongous Mecha version of himself (and an inflatable one at that!). After it's defeated, it turns out he'd been driving it while wearing nothing but his longjohns for some reason, and when this is revealed he's so embarrassed he runs away without zapping anybody.
- Cool Car: HooDoo's flying Hatamaran, for a certain definition of "car".
- Cool Old Lady: Mother Wheels, a motorcycle helmet, who provides transportation for Mark and the Good Hats on her motorcycle.
- Crossover: "Have I Got A Girl For HooDoo" is one with H.R. Pufnstuf, with Witchiepoo (the Big Bad of Pufnstuf) meeting HooDoo through a dating service.
- Dumb Jock: Rah-Rah, the football helmet, who's good at sports but short on brains.
- Evil Sorcerer: Horatio J. HooDoo, the series' Big Bad who enjoys flying around in his Hatamaran and zapping the innocent citizens of Lidsville.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The nurse is named Nursie.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Mark never did get home.note
- Gone Horribly Right: "Have I Got a Girl for HooDoo", the Crossover episode in which Witchiepoo and HooDoo meet. Mark and the Hat People initially hope that if HooDoo successfully finds a love interest through the dating service, he'll cease his habit of randomly flying over Lidsville and "zapping" everything in sight to alleviate his boredom. Unfortunately, HooDoo and Witchiepoo take an instant dislike to each other for not being the sexy figures they'd portrayed themselves as in the mail. Double unfortunately, they end up finding a common ground and mutual attraction when they start "zapping" Mark and his friends when the Lidsvillians try and "help out" on the date. So Lidsville winds up with two Evil Sorcerers in residence, both of whom consider doing the magical equivalent of a fly-over bombing run on their town to be a romantic day's out. Luckily Status Quo Is God...
- Inept Mage: Weenie the Genie comedically bungles any attempt at magic. Whenever he gets something right on the first try, the joke's that it isn't actually what they wanted.
- Living Hats: A whole world of them, no less.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Has a few celebrity caricatures: Tex the Ten-Gallon Hat, Boris the Executioner's Hood, Bela the Vampire's Cowl.
- Replaced with Replica: The Bad Hats conclude that they'll have better luck wooing the ladies if they have a Cool Car. This means posing as a cleaning crew to abscond with HooDoo's Hatamaran, leaving a similar folded hat in its place. It doesn't take the Card-Carrying Villain long to discover the switcheroo, and thereupon conduct zap practice on the Bad Hats.
- Short-Runner: Like most Krofft shows, it had only 17 episodes, for financial reasons.
- Surrounded by Idiots: HooDoo is constantly yelling at Raunchy and the Bad Hats for their bumbling. He even says out loud, "I'm surrounded by idiots!"
- That Reminds Me of a Song: HooDoo has his own band living with him who will burst into song at the drop of a hat. The musical group was, of course, named The Hat Band.
- Verbal Tic: Mother Wheels — "Hon-EE!"